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Cablegate: Afghan Social Outreach Program Gains Momentum As

VZCZCXYZ0008
OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHBUL #0829 0940548
ZNR UUUUU ZZH (CCY AD79631B TOQ3966-695)
O 030548Z APR 08
FM AMEMBASSY KABUL
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 3502
INFO AFGHANISTAN COLLECTIVE
RHEHAAA/NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL WASHINGTON DC
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC
RUEKJCS/OSD WASHINGTON DC
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHINGTON DC
RHMFIUU/HQ USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL

UNCLAS KABUL 000829

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

C O R R E C T E D COPY CAPTION
STATE FOR SCA/FO, SCA/A, S/CRS
STATE PASS TO USAID FOR AID/ANE, AID/DCHA/DG
NSC FOR JWOOD
OSD FOR SHIVERS
CG CJTF-82, POLAD, JICCENT

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KDEM PGOV AF
SUBJECT: AFGHAN SOCIAL OUTREACH PROGRAM GAINS MOMENTUM AS
DONORS DELIBERATE

REF: KABUL 498

1. (SBU) SUMMARY: SUPPORT FOR THE AFGHANISTAN SOCIAL OUTREACH
PROGRAM (ASOP), UNVEILED BY THE INDEPENDENT DIRECTORATE FOR
LOCAL GOVERNANCE (IDLG) ON FEBRUARY 14 (REFTEL), IS GAINING
MOMENTUM. IDLG ACKNOWLEDGES THE PROGRAM IS A WORK IN
PROGRESS AND HAS WELCOMED COMMENTS AND RECOMMENDATIONS FROM
THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY. DONORS HAVE PROVIDED COMMENTS
AND ARE COLLABORATING ON STRATEGIES TO SUPPORT IMPLEMENTATION
IN 11 INITIAL PROVINCES (BADGHIS, FARAH, FARYAB, GHAZNI,
HELMAND, LOGAR, KAPISA, WARDAK, KANDAHAR, URUZGAN, AND
ZABUL). CITING SUCCESS IN THE PILOT PROJECT IN WARDAK, IDLG
BELIEVES ASOP WILL FILL A CRITICAL GAP IN LOCAL GOVERNANCE
UNTIL THE ELECTION OF DISTRICT COUNCILS. ASOP IS THE FIRST
OF SEVERAL PROGRAMS FOR WHICH IDLG WILL REQUEST DONOR
SUPPORT. POST IS WORKING TO QUICKLY PROVIDE SUPPORT FOR THE
PROGRAM IN THE SHORT-TERM AND THE DIRECTORATE IN THE
LONG-TERM, WHILE ENCOURAGING OTHER DONORS TO DO THE SAME.
END SUMMARY.

ASOP PROVIDES BRIDGE TO ELECTED DISTRICT COUNCILS
--------------------------------------------- ----

2. (SBU) THE IDLG'S AFGHANISTAN SOCIAL OUTREACH PROGRAM
(ASOP) IS DESIGNED TO FILL A CRITICAL GAP IN SUB-NATIONAL
GOVERNANCE UNTIL DISTRICT COUNCILS ARE ELECTED. THE PROGRAM
WILL PUT IN PLACE APPOINTED DISTRICT SHURAS (COMMUNITY
COUNCILS) TO PROVIDE COORDINATION AND OVERSIGHT OF SERVICE
DELIVERY AS WELL AS IMPLEMENTATION OF NATIONAL PROGRAMS AT
THE LOCAL LEVEL. THE GOAL IS TO BRING THE PEOPLE CLOSER TO
THE GOVERNMENT IN ORDER TO HELP THEM DEVELOP A STAKE IN LOCAL
AND CENTRAL INSTITUTIONS. THE APPOINTED SHURAS WILL BE
DISSOLVED WHEN DISTRICT COUNCILS ARE ELECTED AND CAN TAKE ON
THE ROLE. (DATES FOR DISTRICT ELECTIONS ARE PART OF THE
CURRENT PARLIAMENTARY DEBATE OVER THE ELECTORAL LAW; IDLG'S
TARGET DATE FOR DISTRICT ELECTIONS IS 2011.)

3. (SBU) THE IDLG CHOSE 11 PRIORITY PROVINCES BASED ON THEIR
SEVERE AND/OR WORSENING SECURITY AND GOVERNANCE SITUATIONS:
BADGHIS, FARAH, FARYAB, GHAZNI, HELMAND, LOGAR, KAPISA,
WARDAK, KANDAHAR, URUZGAN, AND ZABUL. ACCORDING TO ASOP
PROGRAM MANAGER ENGINEER FARHAD, THE ORDER IN WHICH THE
PROVINCES WILL BE TARGETED WILL, TO SOME EXTENT, DEPEND ON
WHICH PROJECTS AND PROVINCES DONORS CHOOSE TO SUPPORT. IDLG
WOULD LIKE TO FOLLOW THE PILOT PROJECT ALREADY UNDERWAY IN
WARDAK PROVINCE WITH PROGRAMS IN LOGAR AND KAPISA PROVINCES,
BUT THIS WILL DEPEND ON FUNDING. IDLG DEPUTY BARNA KARIMI
EMPHASIZES THAT IMPLEMENTATION IN PROVINCES CONCENTRIC TO
KABUL IS IMPORTANT FOR MAINTAINING SECURITY IN THE CAPITAL.
(EMBASSY IS DEVELOPING A RESPONSE TO IDLG'S REQUEST FOR
FUNDING FOR THE LOGAR AND KAPISA INITIATIVES.)
4. (SBU) THE U.S. AND OTHER DONORS HAVE HIGHLIGHTED THE
MERITS OF ALIGNING ASOP WITH THE FOCUSED DISTRICT DEVELOPMENT
(FDD) PROGRAM RUN BY COMBINED SECURITY TRANSITION
COMMAND-AFGHANISTAN (CSTC-A) TO IMPROVE THE QUALITY OF POLICE
AT THE DISTRICT LEVEL. ALIGNMENT HAS OCCURRED SO FAR BY
COINCIDENCE, AS A RESULT OF CERTAIN DISTRICTS ENDING UP NEAR
THE TOP OF BOTH THE ASOP AND FDD PRIORITY LISTS. THE
INTENTION IS THAT BY LATE 2008 (PHASE SEVEN OF THE FDD
PROGRAM) THIS OVERLAP WILL OCCUR BY DESIGN AND AGREEMENT
AMONG ALL PARTIES.

IDLG CLAIMS SUCCESSES IN WARDAK PILOT
-------------------------------------

5. (SBU) IDLG,S PROGRESS IN WARDAK PROVINCE PROVIDES A
PREVIEW OF THE POTENTIAL IMPACT OF THE ASOP NATIONALLY. IN A
MARCH 15 MEETING WITH INTERNATIONAL DONORS, IDLG DEPUTY
KARIMI OUTLINED THE PROGRESS MADE BY THE ASOP IN GATHERING
SUPPORT FROM A SKEPTICAL POPULATION FEARFUL OF ASSOCIATING
WITH THE AFGHAN GOVERNMENT. HE REPORTED THE PROGRAM HAS
ESTABLISHED COMMUNITY COUNCILS IN SAYEDABAD AND NIRKH
DISTRICTS, INCREASED LAGGING POLICE RECRUITMENT, AND
FACILITATED GOVERNMENT POLICIES AND PROGRAMS AT THE DISTRICT
LEVEL. IDLG HIGHLIGHTS SUPPORT RECEIVED TO DATE FROM THE
MINISTRY OF INTERIOR AND THE NATIONAL DIRECTORATE FOR
SECURITY (NDS), RELATIONSHIPS THAT WILL BE IMPERATIVE TO THE

PROGRAM,S SUCCESS ACROSS THE COUNTRY. TO ENSURE THE
FUNCTIONALITY OF THE DISTRICT SHURAS, AN ASOP COORDINATION
UNIT, COMPOSED OF APPROXIMATELY THREE IDLG PERSONNEL, WILL BE
ESTABLISHED IN WARDAK (AND OTHER PROVINCES WHERE ASOP IS
IMPLEMENTED). IDLG IS CONVINCED ASOP WILL TRANSFORM WARDAK
WITHIN A YEAR.

DONORS DELIBERATE OVER PROGRAM,S MERITS
---------------------------------------

6. (SBU) IDLG HAS MOVED BEYOND ITS EARLY RESISTANCE TO EVEN
CONSTRUCTIVE CRITICISM AND NOW WELCOMES INTERNATIONAL
COMMUNITY COMMENTS AND RECOMMENDATIONS RELATING TO THE ASOP.
A SMALL GROUP OF DONORS (THE U.S., THE UK, THE NETHERLANDS,
NORWAY, AND CANADA) HAS MET INFORMALLY SEVERAL TIMES TO
DISCUSS THE PROGRAM AND SUBMITTED DETAILED, PROGRAMMATIC
QUESTIONS DIRECTLY TO THE IDLG. PRINCIPAL AMONG THE
CLARIFICATIONS REQUESTED BY DONORS WERE: THE RELATIONSHIPS
BETWEEN THE COMMUNITY COUNCILS AND EXISTING LOCAL GOVERNMENT
STRUCTURES, THE PROGRAM,S IMPLEMENTATION METHODOLOGY, AND
THE CAPACITY OF IDLG TO IMPLEMENT SUCH A LARGE AND COMPLEX
PROGRAM. IDLG HAS RESPONDED QUICKLY AND COHERENTLY TO DONOR
CONCERNS AND IS CURRENTLY INCORPORATING CLARIFICATIONS IN A
REVISED ASOP DOCUMENT TO BE RELEASED IN THE SECOND WEEK IN
APRIL.

7. (SBU) THE U.S. AND OTHER DONORS ARE COLLABORATING ON
POSSIBLE WAYS TO FUND THE ASOP AND IDLG IN THE SHORT AND LONG
TERM. ALTHOUGH SOME DONORS (PRINCIPALLY CANADA AND THE UK)
HAVE SUGGESTED A POOLED FUNDING APPROACH, IDLG HAS PRESSED
FORWARD IN APPROACHING INDIVIDUAL DONORS TO SUPPORT PROVINCES
IN WHICH THEY HAVE NATIONAL EQUITIES. IDLG HAS APPEALED TO
THE UNITED STATES DIRECTLY FOR SUPPORT IN IMPLEMENTING THE
PROGRAM IN WARDAK, LOGAR, KAPISA, GHAZNI, ZABUL, FARAH, AND
POSSIBLY KUNAR. IN A MARCH 8 MEETING WITH IDLG DIRECTOR
GENERAL JELANI POPAL, THE AMBASSADOR UNDERLINED U.S.
COMMITMENT TO SUPPORTING ASOP IMPLEMENTATION. POST IS
PUTTING TOGETHER A PLAN TO QUICKLY SUPPORT THE SOCIAL
OUTREACH PROGRAM IN TARGET PROVINCES. WITH IMPLEMENTATION IN
WARDAK UNDERWAY, IDLG IS LOOKING FOR FUNDING TO IMPLEMENT THE
PROGRAM IN LOGAR BEGINNING IN APRIL.

ASOP - A TACTICAL COMPONENT OF IDLG'S STRATEGIC PLAN
--------------------------------------------- -------

8. (SBU) THE ASOP IS THE FIRST OF SEVERAL IDLG INITIATIVES
THAT WILL STRENGTHEN SUB-NATIONAL GOVERNANCE OVER THE LONG
TERM. THE IDLGS FIVE YEAR STRATEGIC WORK PLAN (NOT YET
FORMALLY RELEASED) PROVIDES A ROAD MAP FOR THE GOVERNMENT,S
OBJECTIVES AND ACTIVITIES IN LOCAL GOVERNANCE. THE PLAN
INCLUDES AN APPROXIMATELY $160 MILLION BUDGET FOR VARIOUS
PROGRAMS RELATED TO POLICY DEVELOPMENT, INSTITUTIONAL
DEVELOPMENT, AND BROADER GOVERNANCE OBJECTIVES.

9. (SBU) ALTHOUGH SOME DONORS WERE INITIALLY WARY OF THE
IDLG,S CAPACITY TO FULFILL AN EXPANDING MANDATE IN LOCAL
GOVERNANCE, THE IDLG HAS SHOWN IT CAN BE VISIONARY,
ASSERTIVE, AND NIMBLE. THE IDLG QUICKLY DEMONSTRATED ITS
ABILITY TO AFFECT CHANGE IN GOVERNANCE AT THE PROVINCIAL
LEVEL THROUGH GUBERNATORIAL APPOINTMENTS. THE ASOP IS THE
IDLGS FIRST ATTEMPT TO TRANSFORM GOVERNANCE AT THE DISTRICT
LEVEL AS WELL. THE U.S. AND THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY ARE
POISED TO GIVE THE ASOP AND IDLG THE SUPPORT THEY NEED TO
SUCCEED.
DELL

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